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'The Hyde Park Atrocity'

Epstein's Rima: Creation and Controversy


This publication investigates Jacob Epstein's most controversial sculpture. A large Portland stone relief commemorating the naturalist and writer, William Henry Hudson. Inspired by Rima, the heroine of Hudson's most famous novel, Green Mansions, the work took Epstein three years to make and was revealed in May 1925, though not to universal acclaim.

Epstein's unconventional interpretation of the subject shocked many people and Rima was condemned as 'The Hyde Park Atrocity' in The Daily Mail. It was the most talked about work of its time, and as such its creation, unveiling and reception were exceptionally well chartered.

Much of this material, including the Memorial Committee's Minutes and correspondence, along with a unique sketchbook by Epstein dated 1923, is held in the collection of The Henry Moore Centre for the Study of Sculpture and has been referred to extensively for this publication. Written by Terry Friedman (Principal Keeper, Leeds City Art Gallery and The Henry Moore Centre for the Study of Sculpture), the book also contains a full reproduction of the preparatory drawings Epstein made for Rima.

IIHudson's Elysium
IIIEpstein's First Design
IVThe 'Wonderful Woman Spirit'
VRima Revised
VIRima Carved
VIIThe Pro-Epsteiners
VIIIThe Army of Opposition
IXBeauty and Barbarism
XPolitics and Anti-Semitism
XI'The Hyde Park Atrocity. Take It Away!'
XII'The Inevitable has Happened'
XIII'Banalities and Eyesores'
XIV'The Provocativeness of Great Art'
 The Rima Sketchbook
 Appendix A: Documents
 Appendix B: Selected letters and press clippings
 Appendix C: the Hudson Memorial Committee's presentation of William Rothenstein's Portrait of W. H. Hudson to The National Portrait Gallery 1922-23

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